“C” Words

It has been a long period of several months since I last posted on my blog. So now I am trying to find a way to get unstuck and move forward.

My blog is primarily about my photography, so I reviewed some of my Flickr images, where I found a theme for this post. On a recent visit to Dundas Square in downtown Toronto, I created two images with single word titles – both of them starting with the letter “C”. In my search, I found a few more “C” images, and here they are.

connection
contemplation
curves
conversations

Guardians at the Gates

While located 1000’s of kilometres apart, and hundreds of years different in age, the following two sculptures have much in common.

The village of Saint Jean Pied de Port is located at the base of the Pyrenees in south-western France. It is one of the departure points for walkers and pilgrims on the St. James Way of the Camino de Santiago, before they cross the border into Spain.

A sculpture of a shepherd, carrying a staff and caring for a lamb, is perched above the Porte d’Espagne in Saint Jean Pied de Port. The shepherd of Saint Jean Pied de Port is a symbol of caring and guidance, protecting all of the pilgrims who pass under the gate at the commencement of their journey.

roncesvalles 1 cw

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the shepherd of Saint Jean Pied de Port

Ryerson University is a post-secondary institution which has a large campus in the heart of downtown Toronto, Canada. Kerr Hall is one of the primary buildings on the campus, and it was constructed in the form of a square, enclosing an open green space in the centre (the Quad). There are two portals that open onto the streets at the north and south ends. Above the south entry gate, there is a statue of an ice hockey goalie.

ryerson 1 cw

ryerson v2 cw
the goalie of Ryerson

The goalie of Ryerson can be viewed as the protector of all those who pass through the gate to enter the campus. I am sure that only in Canada would this metaphor of a goalie as a guardian be accepted and understood. A shepherd with his staff can be universally understood – at least within the Christian ethos – to be a guardian. But a goalie with his hockey stick is a truly Canadian phenomenon. Of course, for some Canadians, hockey is a religion, so it goes without saying that the symbolism of a goalie is well understood.

It would be interesting to see more examples of guardians like these from other parts of the world. If any readers have some images or suggestions, please respond.

Discovering Toronto Heritage – by Accident

I recently discovered this preserved building facade during an exploratory walk in downtown Toronto. The Jenkins Antique and Art Galleries signage was created in full Art Nouveau style, and I am sure that this is a rare example of the preservation of this architectural style in Toronto.

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Jenkins Antique and Art Galleries – Now

After further investigation, I have found the following historical facts. This building was incorporated into a high-rise condominium known as The Gallery which was opened in 1990. The architects for this development were Kirkor Archiects and Planners. The original building was designated as a Part IV heritage building in 1984, whicch meant that the sign and facade had to be incorporated into the new structure.

The original gallery was designed by Sproatt & Rolph Architects, who designed many well known buildings in Toronto. It dates back to the early 1900’s when it was the primary importer of antique mahogany and rosewood furniture in Toronto. I found the accompanying archival photo of the original building.

25 grenville street
Jenkins Antique and Art Galleries – Then

The Journeys

St. Cuthbert played an important role in the early introduction of Christianity to the people of northern Britain in the 7th Century. Cuthbert first became a Prior in Melrose, Scotland, and then moved on to become the Prior at Lindisfarne (Holy Island). Following his death as Bishop of Lindisfarne in 687, he was buried at Lindisfarne Priory.

St. Cuthbert’s relics later became important religious artefacts. Amid the threat of Viking invasions, St. Cuthbert’s relics were transported to various locations between 875 and 1104, when they were moved to a shrine in the new cathedral of Durham, where they are still located.

Over the past four years, we have travelled to the UK on our journey to retrace the steps of St. Cuthbert. In 2015, we walked on St. Cuthbert’s Way, from Melrose to Lindisfarne. We returned by car in 2018 to visit Lindisfarne and Durham. Our stay in Lindisfarne included participating in an archaeological dig to help discover the site of the original priory on the island. We also toured the Open Treasure exhibit and the Shrine of St. Cuthbert at Durham Cathedral.

A modern homage to the journey of St. Cuthbert’s relics is housed inside the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin, located adjacent to the ruins of Lindisfarne Priory. ‘The Journey’ was created by English sculptor Fenwick Lawson and installed in the church in 2009. This sculpture was carved from seven elm trees and depicts six monks from Holy Island carrying the coffin of St. Cuthbert to safety.

the journey cw
the Journey

 

My image of The Journey has been edited in Photoshop with the intent to depict the historical theme of the sculpture.

Convenience Stores – Introduction

Toronto is a city made up of many neighbourhoods. And most of these neighbourhoods still have their convenience store.

We can all remember a few of our past experiences with our local convenience store when we were growing up. It was a short walk or bike ride away, a place to meet up with friends, a confectionary store where we could spend our allowance or pocket money.

I am embarking on a mission to photograph many of the local convenience stores in Toronto, and present them in a photographic style that I am experimenting with. My first two images are included in this post, and I hope to add to this collection in the coming months.

I would also like to learn more about how these stores can continue to survive in today’s environment of rising real estate values, large chain stores and the continued reliance on cars as the primary means of transport.

sunshine convenience cw
Sunshine Convenience

iren's grocery cw
Iren’s Grocery

Festive Windows

It’s not that easy to find festive window displays in downtown Toronto during this year’s Christmas season. One go-to is the Hudson’s Bay store on Queen Street West, which features a few windows sponsored by the American toy brand FAO Schwarz. This is the first appearance of FAO Schwarz in Canada, as it has opened up pop-up spaces in Hudson’s Bay stores across Canada. Their windows are elaborate displays, but both the displays and the pop-ups are not expected to stay for long.

The city skyline window is a conglomeration of Toronto facades – some more recognizable than others – plus some vintage streetcars circling on a track. Maybe some long-term residents of Toronto are able to identify all of the buildings.

fao schwarz 2
FAO Schwarz – city skyline

The second window is a classic display of large-scale toys – a great place for window watchers young and old.

fao schwarz 1
FAO Schwarz – toy display

A second type of festive display is located in the windows of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Front Street. There are a number of panels, each one created by a local artist as his/her interpretation of the holiday season. This display is rooted in celebration, diversity and community, and reflects the multiculturalism of Toronto. Each piece is being auctioned by public bid, with the proceeds to be donated to Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank.

une connection
‘Une Connection’ by Gabrielle Lasporte

northern lights
‘Northern Light’ by Patrick Hunter

good tidings
‘Good Tidings’ by Vivian Rosas

chinese lion
‘Chinese Lion, Burning Bright’ by Dylan Glynn